Stolen meters – Hundreds of litres of water gone to waste


HAD it not been for Bhaya’s plumbing experience, a Lenasia Extension 6, Olive Avenue family would have gone for days without water.

Bhaya, after making numerous calls to Johannesburg Water, resorted to connecting water directly to a pipe that provides the family with water, after he found his meter stolen.

The waterless ordeal, according to Bhaya, began at the beginning of June when his water meter developed a leak. The matter was reported, but the Johannesburg Water personnel only arrived a few days later.

A few weeks later, seven water meters were stolen from the street where Bhaya lived. Bhaya’s meter, however, was not taken. The matter was reported and officials arrived at the stolen meter sites within 24 hours. Bhaya and his wife observed the effectiveness of the officials.

“A week later, on June 24, my meter was stolen and I ended up connecting the water pipe myself to avoid wasting water,” Bhaya said.

A call was made to Johannesburg Water at around 6am. The entire day went and no officials arrived. Another call was logged on Sunday, at around 2am and still no officials arrived.

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When the Rising Sun arrived at Bhaya’s house on Monday, June 26, the semi-connected water pipe was still gushing water. Bhaya dressed in his pyjamas had been sitting under a tree across the road awaiting a truck.

“Maybe they might be on their way,” he said at the time.

And surely a Johannesburg Water truck sped down the road. Bhaya flagged it down thinking they had come to address his complaint. However, the workers were on their way to address another complaint. which was laid on Sunday, June 25.

“I reported my water leak on Saturday. How can you sort out a complaint that was reported on Sunday? Can’t you at least switch off the water meter? ” he asked them.

Bhaya expressed his dissatisfaction with the department’s way of dealing with things. He also questioned why a recorded message is ‘preaching’ to the country to save water, when the department itself is wasting water.

“Do they want this place to end up like Cape Town where there is a severe water shortage? Why don’t they do their job and save water?” he asked.

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He also suggested that the department hire more people who could at least switch off water at affected houses, while awaiting their job cards.  A Facebook post by Yab’s Advisory Service advised residents to report all theft to their local police and to inform JohannesburgWater. Johannesburg Water will require one’s home address and include the message ‘stolen water meter’ if one is mailing them or sending a SMS.

The post, focussing on what seems to be a water meter stealing syndicate operating in Lenasia, alleged that the meters were stolen for the brass and copper they possess. They are then sold to scrap metal dealers.

“We promote the conservation of water. Yet millions of litres of water is wasted by this theft. Unfortunately the residents suffer without water… Johannesburg Water needs to attend to and replace these meters,” the post read.

Residents should contact 011-375-5555 or 086-056-2874 or send an SMS to 082-653-2143 or email [email protected] to report stolen meters.

Have a story? contact a reporter on 076-235-1764 or call into the Rising Sun offices on 011-852-0842.

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